by Jeremy Powers on August 16, 2010

Sometimes you have a conversation that is more productive than you anticipated.  This can happen in a variety of ways, and with all sorts of people.  For example, a 90 minute meeting with a customer may bear much more insight and potential than you expected, and everyone leaves the meeting wishing they had more time. 

This also happens with family and other people we see frequently.  Sometimes, for example, my nine-year-old daughter will discuss her view of the world in a way that makes me proud and curious, and I loathe the interruptions which inevitably end the conversation early.  (This also happens with my younger children, but in a different way.)

I find these conversations happen frequently for me as a small business consultant.  Business owners rarely realize how specific and unique their knowledge is, and with a passionate speaker, anything can become very interesting.  On the other side of the table, I am often amazed at how original my knowledge sounds to business owners; I forget how unique my skills and information sources are to them.  Both sides become engaged, and both sides are rewarded.

It is important to keep your knowledge and talents in mind as you speak with customers.  This is especially true for service companies, which I have found tend to view their products as commodities to be traded on price.  As a basic example, a good landscaper can keep your property looking better than you as a homeowner can, even if you had unlimited time and money to manage it yourself.  The landscaper builds an enormous warehouse of practical wisdom through working on a variety of properties and projects, and it is nearly impossible for you to replicate his expertise. 

I would challenge you to take ten minutes to answer write down the information and skills you consider basic for your industry that your customers simply do not have.  This is your value.

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